Fertility rates have been slashed in China in one of the most ambitious state attempts to control population growth. The government feared a looming crisis in the 1960s where every 3 years another 55million people where added top the population. The government feared a Malthusian crisis where population growth would completely outstrip resource availabillity. They launched into China’s now famous one child policy in 1979, after Chinese demographer Liu Zeng calculated China’s OPTIMUM population at 700million. The government set the limit at one child per family – a total fertility rate of 1! The state offered inducements for having only one child such as;
They also had a rigorous range of punishments if the on child rule was flouted (which it clearly was, look at the fertility graph, it never reaches 1!) including;
Losing all of the benefits listed above
Fines of up to 15% of the families income
In addition, couples could only marry at 22 for a man and 20 for a woman, and had to apply to the state for permission to first marry and then have a child. This reduces the reproductive “lifespan” of that couple.
The policy courted lots of controversy, and China’s imbalance in male to female ratio is evident in the figures about China’s population. It was claimed in the South China post that once couples knew the sex of a baby some would abort if it was a girl. This is known as female infanticide. This is because the Chinese value males in their society more than females because they carry the family name.
It has been documented that some women were forced into having abortions if they conceived a second child, and persistent offenders were offered sterilisation. The local factories and communities also had the granny police – who monitored and spied on